Capacity, Rather than Coverage, Now Drives Mobile Network Design

By Gary Kim January 31, 2014

Mobile networks traditionally have been engineered for reach, which is why lower frequencies are preferred to higher frequencies. The small cell trend, and carrier Wi-Fi, suggest something new is happening, namely a shift of value and therefore network design principles.

Where in the past coverage has been the primary driver of network design, now that concern is balanced with a need for capacity. There are some corollaries. Capcity solutions tend often to rely on small area, low-power solutions, rather than high-power macrocells.

It is no accident that people mostly consume high-bandwidth apps when they are stationary, at home or in the office, not while “on the go,” using the macrocell network. Tariffs and handset software encourages such behavior.

Home and office Wi-Fi, used for offload, is one such example. But small cells use the same approach, as does carrier Wi-Fi.

Also, to a growing extent, it is possible to envision primary reliance on Wi-Fi and untethered access, with mobility a secondary method of access, primarily for low-bandwidth, on the go connectivity.

That’s the theory behind Republic Wireless and Scratch Wireless, for example. Scratch Wireless offers unlimited domestic market text messaging, with unlimited voice when connected using Wi-Fi, and then supplemented by prepaid mobile voice and mobile Internet access.

All of that suggests a possibly-historic reversal of the ways mobile bandwidth and services have been provided, with more emphasis on a “use the fixed network first, then switch to mobile if necessary” approach.

Significantly, that changes the historic value of the fixed network, which now becomes an essential part of the way mobile communications are supported. For fixed network providers, that should go quite some ways towards addressing what some have termed “mobile envy.”

As it turns out, the enduring strategic value of a fixed network now pivots towards backhaul of mobile traffic. 




Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Is 5G a Spectrum-eating Monster that Destroys Competition?

By: Fred Goldstein    6/15/2018

To hear the current FCC talk about it, 5G mobile service is the be-all and end-all of not only mobile communications, but the answer to most of the co…

Read More

FX Group Makes the Red Carpet Shoppable with Blockchain-Based mCart Marketplace-as-a-Service

By: TMCnet News    6/14/2018

mCart by Mavatar announces the launch of the world's first blockchain-based decentralized mCart marketplace by the FX Group.

Read More

Judge Gives AT&T-Time Warner Deal Green Light

By: Paula Bernier    6/12/2018

Federal judge Richard Leon gave the $85 billion deal the green light today - and without any requirements to sell off any parts of the company. He als…

Read More

A New Foundation for Evolving Blockchain As a Fundamental Network Technology

By: Arti Loftus    6/12/2018

There are now thousands of blockchains, and unless you are a cryptophile, you won't recognize most of them.

Read More